At press time, platinum was trading at $843 an ounce—after its price briefly hit $810, the metal’s lowest price in 14 years.
Even so, platinum is still trading at historic lows compared to some of the other jewelry metals. Currently, platinum is trading for almost $400 less than the price of gold, which was valued at $1,240 an ounce at press time.
For most of recent history, the price of platinum has topped that of gold. However, according to BullionVault, the price of platinum has now trailed that of gold for more than two years, the longest such run since the 18th century.
But more surprisingly, platinum is also trading for about $100 less than its longtime sister metal palladium, which was at press time trading for $942 an ounce. The price of platinum first fell below that of palladium in September of last year and has stayed below it ever since.
Analysts blamed platinum’s woes on the growing threat of an automotive trade war between the United States and Europe, which they fear will add to the costs of cars and depress overall sales.
“With the auto tariff threats, you will see it affect demand, so investors are selling platinum as a result,” John Caruso, senior market strategist at RJO Futures, told Reuters.
About 40 percent of platinum demand comes from its use in diesel-powered cars, popular in Europe. Sales of diesel-powered cars have already suffered in light of the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal. Meanwhile, palladium has benefited from its use in catalytic converters, which curb the noxious effects of car exhaust.
On the positive side, platinum’s low price seems to have spurred jewelry sales—according to Platinum Guild International, sales of platinum jewelry rose 11 percent in the United States last year, in part because of its historically low price. This marks the fifth consecutive year platinum jewelry sales have grown in America.
(Photo courtesy of Coast Diamond)